PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to picks@whowhatwhy.org.

Weather’s Unwanted Guest: Nasty La Nina Keeps Popping Up (Maria)

The author writes, “Something weird is up with La Nina, the natural but potent weather event linked to more drought and wildfires in the western United States and more Atlantic hurricanes. It’s becoming the nation’s unwanted weather guest, and meteorologists said the West’s megadrought won’t go away until La Nina does. The current double-dip La Nina set a record for strength last month and is forecast to likely be around for a rare but not quite unprecedented third straight winter. And it’s not just this one.”

Should We Be Forced to See Exactly What an AR-15 Does to a 10-Year-Old? (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “I know that stoning people to death is barbaric. But I never understood just what it entails — the slow, cruel process by which a defenseless human being is degraded and destroyed — until I saw a series of photographs taken by Somali photojournalist Farah Abdi Warsameh, which depict the stoning execution of a man accused of adultery by the insurgent group Hizbul Islam. While some charge that viewing such pictures is voyeuristic, these images made me face the terror, the blood and the sheer cruelty of this practice — one that, astonishingly, has not yet been tossed into the dustbin of history. Photographic images can bring us close to the experience of suffering — and, in particular, to the physical torment that violence creates — in ways that words do not.”

In Pro-Choice Nevada, Obscure Law Sends Women to Prison for Late-Term Pregnancy Loss (Reader Steve)

From The Nevada Independent: “Nevada is a firmly pro-choice state with the protections from Roe v. Wade enshrined in state law and the majority of Nevadans consistently polling in favor of reproductive rights. But it’s the only state in the country that can imprison people for terminating a pregnancy under certain circumstances, according to Laura FitzSimmons, the Carson City-based lawyer now representing Frazier pro bono.”

Putin Survived Assassination Attempt Two Months Ago, Ukraine Official Says (Sean)

From Newsweek: “Russian President Vladimir Putin survived an assassination attempt two months ago, just after he announced the invasion of Ukraine, the country’s chief spy has claimed. Ukraine’s Chief of Defence Intelligence Kyrylo Budanov claimed Putin, 69, was attacked in an ‘unsuccessful attempt’ to kill him around two months ago when he was in the Caucasus — an area comprised of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and parts of Southern Russia — only days into the Ukraine invasion.”

Sea Otters Were Once Hunted to Near Extinction. Now Scientists Might Return Them to California’s North Coast (Reader Steve)

From the San Francisco Chronicle: “Sea otter numbers have been largely stagnant in California for over a decade. Scientists want to expand their range, since the animals help restore the state’s estuaries and once-vast kelp forests, thus buffering the effects of climate change. But fishers and divers are reluctant because the otters like to feast on valuable species like Dungeness crab, sea urchin and abalone. An expansion of sea otters on the West Coast could lead to an uptick in tourism, experts say. With their rascally energy and teddy bear faces, otters are more relatable than other marine mammals for the way they seem to relish their food and being together. They rest in the water with heads popped out like someone enjoying a mud bath, the rest of their bodies a low line in the water with only their rear fins poking through the kelp.”

From Seawater to Drinking Water, With the Push of a Button (Mili)

The author writes, “Researchers created a portable desalination unit that can remove particles and salts simultaneously to generate drinking water. The user-friendly unit, which weighs less than 10 kilograms and does not require filters, can be powered by a small, portable solar panel.”

Can You Actually Fix Your Tech by Smacking It? (Sean)

The author writes, “Tech ‘emergencies’ are often much simpler than they look. And sometimes, the simplest solution of them all (or the one that feels most instinctual) is to go ‘dad mode’ on it, by which I mean you simply and elegantly smack the shit out your remote until it works again. … Here’s why old-fashioned violence is sometimes an effective method to make your electronics work again.”